11 Common Mistakes to Avoid when Feeding Your Dog a Raw Diet

11 Common Mistakes to Avoid when Feeding Your Dog a Raw Diet

As a pet owner considering a raw food diet for your dog, you have probably done significant research to determine whether this is the right step for your furry friend’s well-being. The dedication to providing them with a diet that aligns with their natural instincts is a great first step toward improving your dog’s health.

According to a 2019 study, raw pet food sales increased by about 15 percent over the years, and between 15 and 25 percent of dogs are raw raw food.

While the benefits of raw feeding are widely acknowledged, it’s essential to tread carefully to avoid common pitfalls hindering your dog’s optimal health. Being aware of common mistakes pet parents make when switching to a raw diet is key to making educated feeding decisions.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid to ensure your canine companion thrives on their path to a healthier and happier life.

1. Unbalanced Diets

Unbalanced Diets

Creating an unbalanced raw diet is a common pitfall, as it may lack the essential nutrients your dog needs. Dogs require a mix of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

A diet skewed towards one nutrient can lead to deficiencies. Consulting with a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist is crucial to ensure your dog’s meals meet their nutritional needs, promoting overall health and well-being.

2. Inadequate Bone Content

Bones are integral to a raw diet for their dental benefits and as a source of essential minerals. However, the balance is critical.

Too little bone can lead to a calcium-phosphorus imbalance, affecting bone health, while excessive bone consumption can result in constipation or other digestive issues.

Strive for the right balance by including appropriate bone portions in your dog’s meals, contributing to their overall health and dental hygiene.

3. Neglecting Organ Meat

Organ meats are nutritional powerhouses, rich in vitamins and minerals essential for your dog’s health. The liver and kidneys, for instance, provide vitamins A, D, E, K, and B. Neglecting these vital components can lead to nutritional imbalances.

Ensure that organ meats constitute a crucial part of your dog’s meals, contributing to the overall nutritional profile of the diet and supporting their well-being.

4. Skipping Variety

Dogs, like humans, benefit from a diverse diet. A monotonous diet may lead to nutrient deficiencies and lack interest in meals.

Aim for variety in protein sources, incorporating meats like chicken, beef, pork, and fish. This promotes nutritional balance and keeps mealtime exciting for your pup, ensuring they receive a broad spectrum of nutrients for optimal health.

Choose a reputable brand that offers a wide range of recipes to ensure variety. For example, Bold by Nature provides a variety of raw dog food in Canada and the U.S.

You can browse their website to explore different recipes, from classics to fresh favorites. Choose from various proteins, including chicken, turkey, beef, and pork.

5. Overlooking Food Safety

Overlooking Food Safety

Raw feeding demands meticulous attention to food safety. Cross-contamination poses a risk to both pets and humans. Practicing proper hygiene when preparing and serving raw meals is imperative.

Ensure that raw meat is stored separately from other foods, and regularly clean feeding bowls and utensils to prevent the spread of bacteria. Prioritizing food safety safeguards your pet’s health and the well-being of your household.

6. Inconsistent Portions

Maintaining a consistent feeding routine is vital for your dog’s overall well-being. Inconsistent portion sizes can lead to weight management issues, affecting your pet’s health. Pay attention to your dog’s body condition and adjust their food portions accordingly.

Regular monitoring ensures that your pet maintains a healthy weight, receives the necessary nutrients, and thrives in both physical and mental well-being.

7. Ignoring Individual Needs

Dog's Nutritional Requirements

Every dog is unique, and their nutritional requirements may vary based on factors like age, breed, size, and activity level. Ignoring these individual needs can compromise your dog’s health.

Consult your veterinarian to tailor a raw feeding plan that meets your dog’s requirements. Regular check-ups allow for monitoring your dog’s health, facilitating necessary adjustments to their diet for sustained well-being.

8. Neglecting Supplements

While a well-balanced raw diet can provide many essential nutrients, some may be lacking or present in insufficient quantities. Incorporating supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids and joint supplements, can support your dog’s overall health.

Consult with your veterinarian to identify specific supplements that may benefit your pet based on their needs. This proactive approach ensures your dog receives a holistic and complete nutritional profile, addressing potential gaps in their raw diet.

9. Hydration Oversight

Signs of Dehydration in Dogs

Raw diets might not provide the same level of hydration as wet or commercial dog foods. Ensure your dog has access to fresh water at all times. Hydration is crucial for various bodily functions, and insufficient water intake can lead to issues like urinary tract problems.

Monitoring your dog’s water consumption is an often overlooked yet critical aspect of their well-being. It’s also essential to look for signs of dehydration in dogs to ensure you can take necessary action.

10. Ignoring Transition Sensitivity

Switching your dog to a raw diet without a gradual transition can lead to digestive upsets. Dogs, like humans, need time for their digestive systems to adapt to new foods. Introduce the raw diet gradually, mixing it with their current food and incrementally adjusting the proportions.

This gentle transition minimizes the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort and ensures a smoother adjustment to their new nutritional regimen.

11. Overlooking Environmental Considerations

Dog's Raw Diet

While focusing on the nutritional aspects of a raw diet, it’s essential not to overlook the environmental impact. The procurement and production of certain meats can contribute to ecological challenges. Opt for sustainably sourced and ethically produced meats when possible.

This aligns with a broader commitment to environmental responsibility and ensures that your dog’s diet reflects a holistic approach to their well-being, considering the health of the planet they call home.

Balancing your dog’s nutritional needs with environmentally conscious choices contributes to a healthier lifestyle for both your pet and the world they inhabit.


Feeding your dog a raw diet is a rewarding journey that demands careful consideration and dedication. By avoiding these common mistakes and adopting an informed approach, you can ensure your furry friend receives the nutrition they need for a vibrant and healthy life.

Regular veterinary consultations complement this approach, guiding and allowing adjustments to create the best possible raw diet for your beloved canine companion.